Good morning, Everyone. I am steering the coffee shares toward talking about my books and writing process. I hope you may find it interesting.
I wrote two middle-grade historical fiction novels, The Heart of Bakers and Artists (aka Daily Bread) and The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers. They are set in the Lower East Side of New York City, 1911.
It was a fascinating time and place in American history. The nation was young and suffered growing pains as it evolved beyond the Civil War, assassinations, expansions, and economic depression into the 20th century. Urban sprawl pushed boundaries while making room for industrial innovations, mass immigration, and the pursuit of the American dream.
It was a challenging time to be a child in the cities. This was especially true of the children of immigrants who arrived with little more than hope. European immigrants faced harsh working conditions, poor housing, inadequate access to education and health care, and fierce prejudice. Young children labored in dangerous factories. The future held few opportunities for children to be kids. Play, school and friendships were fragile commodities.
As time marched forward, reforms set into motion social justice campaigns that echo into present day policies. But it took more than laws to make a difference. Putting the changes into practice took boots-on-the-ground initiatives and courage.
I set the children characters in my books amid these reforms in New York City. They become the do-ers and victims of the times. The way people lived and worked in the tenement neighborhoods are experienced through the eyes of my nine, almost ten-year-old protagonist, Lily Taglia, American-born daughter of Sicilian immigrants. The stories unfold as Lily learns to navigate harsh realities while desperately holding onto her heart and dreams.
The narratives are born from listening to stories told by my grandmother and her sisters. They grew up in the Little Italy neighborhoods of the Lower East Side in a three-room tenement apartment and bore the scars of frightening events, poor education, and working from the time they could thread a sewing needle. It was a tough time to be a child. Persistence, courage, stubbornness, and a bit of luck saw them through their trials, leaving a powerful legacy of perseverance. To me, these traits are story worthy.
Thanks you for indulging me. Great big thank you to Natalie the Explorer, the incredible host of Weekend Coffee Share.
Be kind. Be safe.
Have a great week, Everyone. Make it funtastic.
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Take a picture of you with Daily Bread and/or Becoming America’s Food Stories, and I’ll send you Reader’s Swag and add you to the Becoming America’s Stories Readers slideshow, coming soon! Kid pics are welcomed with parent or guardian permission. Don’t forget to leave a rating and quick comment on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
“If you don’t cook with love, you have to get out of the kitchen.” Florence Messina